Jail and Prison Comparison Paper

October 28, 2018 Medical

Various types of facilities to incarcerate criminals exist all over the country. Federal prisons, state prisons, and county jails are facilities designed to incarcerate criminals. The county operates county jails, the state operates state prisons, and the federal government operates federal prisons. The operation of these facilities is basically similar but, house various types of criminals. Like spokes of a wheel, jails are important in the wheel of justice. Jails serve as a facility that houses those individuals accused of crimes and have been arrested but, have not yet had a trial.

These individuals have not been found guilty but, there is enough evidence that this person committed the crime. Another reason someone would be detained in jail is they were unable to post bail either they could not afford it or it was not offered to them. Those individuals that have been found guilty by a jury or but their own admission with a plea bargain, who are serving one year or less also can be detained and incarcerated in jail. Jails differ from prison in that prisoners in prison have been through a trial or plea bargain and have received their sentence.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Various types of individuals are incarcerated in jails and for varying crimes. Living conditions of early jails were deplorable. Originally, jails were meant to only detain offenders who were awaiting trial. Between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries jails held people that were homeless, vagrant, and mentally ill. Jails were filthy, little to no food was given, no medical care, and no bedding. A big problem for jails was violence and little to no discipline (CJi Interactive). Jails in early America were similar to jails of England. The jails housed criminals waiting for their trial to start.

These jails were often one room that could hold many prisoners. No matter the age, gender, or crime, all these individuals were held all together. Sheriffs most often oversee county jails and the purpose of them is to detain the offender until their case is settled in court. More spokes in our wheel of justice is prisons. Both state and federal prisons exist and operate under basically the same policies and procedures. Federal and state prisons incarcerate those offenders convicted by a court of law for felonies and are sentenced to more than one year.

As of 2008 there were more than 1. 6 million inmates incarcerated in state and federal prisons. That is up from 1980 when the numbers were about 316,000. From 1980, which was two hundred years after the first prison was used to punish criminals until 2008, there has been an increase of almost 500 percent. State penitentiaries housed criminals convicted of federal crimes and whose sentence was less than one year. Federal prisons are operated by The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Federal prisons house criminals convicted of federal crimes.

During 1870 the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) appointed an individual in the DOJ to care and take custody of all federal prisoners. State prisons began to not house federal prisoners because of overcrowding, lack of funds, and limited bed space. The Three Penitentiary Act passed by Congress in 1891 authorized the construction of three new prisons to house federal inmates. On March 3, 1891 The Three Penitentiary Act was passed to have prisons built in Kansas, Washington, and Georgia. Two more federal facilities were authorized in 1925 by Congress.

These new facilities were to be built in West Virginia and Ohio. The Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1930 was established to oversee prison operations. The growing number of federal inmates brought forth the need to have a separate agency to manage the system. The Federal Bureau of Prisons in April 2009, had 118 prisons to oversee. The five security categories of these prisons were high, medium, low, minimum, and administrative. The differences in each category depends on the level of security. High security prisons have high fences, walls with razor wire on top, and guard towers.

Minimum security prisons would not have guard towers or razor wire. Minimum security have dorms instead of cells for prisoners to stay in. Most county jails have minimum security and smaller county jails would have few housing security levels available for prisoners. A prisons classification of security is based on preventative escape. Its physical security features such as guard towers and razor wire, or even surrounded by a large body of water such as Alcatraz. Alcatraz Island is surrounded by water and the only way in or out is by boat. This is an escape prevention.

According to “Wv Regional Jail And Correctional Facility Authority” (2012),”The Southern Regional Jail in Beckley, West Virginia in 2012 had an average daily inmate population of 313 and in 2011 it was 293. In 2012 there were 99 males and 17 females in the division of corrections inmate. There were 0 male and 0 female federal inmates in that same year. Misdemeanor pre-trial inmates were 63 male and 12 female. Sentenced misdemeanor 24 males and 4 females. The largest of the population were 221 males 48 females in pre-trial felons. Convicted felons were 18 males and 6 female for an average inmate of 537”.

The inmates remain in the pre-trial section of the jail after they are booked until their trial. Classifying the inmate takes place once the criminal is booked. Upon the classification departments decision as to what level the inmate should be placed the inmate is then placed in that level such as high, medium, minimum, or administrative segregation. They can also be put in protective custody level if warranted (“Wv Regional Jail And Correctional Facility Authority”, 2012). Prison population continues to grow as jail and state prison population begins to decline.

An increase in federal laws causes the federal inmate population to grow. With new laws involving drugs, firearms, and terrorism as federal crimes, this is causing the federal prison system to explode. In 1990 the inmate population rose an average of 8. 7percent each year (Seiter, p. 499, 2011). The prison and jail population reached over two million inmates in 2002 (Seiter, p. 499, 2011). In the early 1990s marijuana was illegal in every state. This is not the case today in 2013. Many states are legalized marijuana but, Federal law prohibits the use, selling, or growing of marijuana.

There are no exception under federal law regarding marijuana. This is one reason why federal inmate population is increasing while state and local inmate population is decreasing. Corrections is essential to the cycle of criminal justice. No matter the whether it is Federal, State, or County levels of correction, it is necessary to treat all inmates with dignity and humanly. Corrections staff may be the person that turns an inmates life around. By treating the inmate with dignity and respect the inmate may in return be more excepting of rehabilitation programs.


I'm Amanda

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out